It’s believed that breast massage in the postpartum period helps relieve breast pains and breast engorgement, decreases breast milk sodium, produces better quality mother’s milk, and stimulates breast milk production and milk ejection.
Techniques used in Thailand are usually derived from Thai Traditional Massage and focus on the pectoralis muscles and the soft tissues of the breasts. Generally, circling, rubbing, kneading and squeezing strokes and movements are applied around and on the breasts. The overall idea is to increase lymph and blood flow and stimulate the mammary glands.
Nevertheless, we need to realize that Thai Massage is a holistic modality taking into account the whole person, physically and mentally, including working on (blockages of) the Sen Energy lines, and Thai postpartum breast massage for lactation (nursing) is only part of broader massage treatment efforts restoring the mothers energies and pre-pregnancy state.
Regular breast massage in the postpartum period promotes an optimal flow of breast milk by stimulating the mammary glands, better milk quality, and aids blood circulation and the lymphatic system. It can also encourage oxytocin hormone secretion which causes a better milk ejection (let-down reflex). Additionally, it can help prevent and treat problems like breast engorgement, plugged milk ducts, or mastitis (an infection of breast tissue).
The effectiveness of breast massage can be heightened by using warm herbal compresses additionally. Research has also shown that massage helps drain the breast more effectively, which also gives a better milk flow and better milk ejection.
Breast massage also aids in making the breasts and areola (the pigmented area on the breast around the nipple) softer, by which babies can more easily fully keep the nipple in their mouth. This will encourage effective breastfeeding, and activate the prolactin hormone which stimulates a continuously increasing milk production.
A typical breast massage session consists of using Thai traditional style massage for about twenty minutes, complemented with a warm Thai herbal compress treatment for about forty minutes.
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